Friday, July 9, 2021

Wild Cards update


Wild Cards have been one of the most widely criticized features within Minion Masters over the years. With 2.0 coming we've decided it's time to take a good hard look at the feature and try to discern what the issues with it are but also what it contributes.

We want our players to continuously have fun and challenge themselves for years to come. For a long time, we've felt that Wild Cards added to that main goal, at least for most players.

We've heard the argument that it disturbs the overall balance of the game and we agree. It is undeniably harder to find and maintain a great game balance with Wild Cards making decks more unpredictable and extreme, adding to a more rock-paper-scissors experience.

So far we have maintained that the feature also allowed for more creativity in deck building and in most cases for more fun. It's no secret that Wild Cards somewhat limits design space when it comes to the more unique and bombastic designs. We've seen several of these cards become problematic over the years when wildcarded (I.e. Thelec, Wolf Among Sheep, Black Hole, Brutish Betrayer, Guardian, to name a few).

Earlier this week we ran a survey asking you all, what you think of the current state of Wild Cards. Through this survey we found that:

  • ~60% of players like Wild Cards
  • ~36% of players vote to keep Wild Cards as they are; ~31% ask for a change; while ~32% want them flat out removed.
  • Generally, we see the call for removal mostly with high-rank players as around ~70% of the Remove votes came from players in Master rank or above.
  • We also see that while the positive impact of Wild Cards is more widely spread than the negative, it does seem to be less intense.

You can see the results of the survey here

What happens now?

Despite the majority of players telling us that Wild Cards are good for the game, we're going to go out on a limb. We believe that the time is right to try something else.

We wish to do a test in which we will remove Wild Cards from the game for a full season. That will be this upcoming season starting with Patch 1.27.

After that season ends we will be asking everyone again to see what your feelings are after having tried the game without Wild Cards for a bit. We'll naturally also be following your feedback on Discord, Reddit, and the Steam forum so do share your opinions as we go along.

Why Now?

When Wild Cards were added to the game, there were a total of 77 cards and deck choices were far more limited. Today is a vastly different scenario with more than 220 cards and several new mechanics. This also means that many cards have alternatives that perform similar duties in slightly different ways. For instance, instead of playing with a Cleaver, you could play with a Brother of the Burning Fist. Instead of Whirly, you could play with Fergus, Plasma Marines → Crystal Archers, Scrat Horde → Skeleton Horde, etc.

Therefore, we believe that the time is right to try and reevaluate this fundamental feature of the game. We believe that we have a broad enough variety of cards as well as several options for most functions that Wild Cards are no longer needed in order to create fun, interesting decks. At the same time, the incredible amount of combination possibilities is also making it substantially harder to fully consider Wild Cards with every balance patch. We now believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.

What happens in the long term?

What happens to Wild Cards after the test, we cannot say yet. We will have to see how the test goes and look at the community response as a whole before we make any long-term decisions.

IF we decide to remove Wild Cards permanently, we do have plans to look into the design space that is created in their absence. There are several ways we can make cards that emulate the Wild Card mechanic and we hope to use this to reintroduce the good parts of it in a more controlled manner.

In Conclusion

We'll be removing Wild Cards in Patch 1.27 and most likely remain removed in 1.28 as we go over all the results.

We hope you're all ready and willing to give this a go and that you will share your thoughts with us so that we can make the most well-informed decision when the test is finished.

If you haven't already, join us on:

From everyone at BetaDwarf, we thank you for being such a passionate and amazing community. Without you, all this could never have been a reality and for this, we are eternally humbled!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Big changes coming to Minion Masters


Minion Masters!

The team has been closely looking at the game for a while now and, leading up to 2.0 we’ve been preparing some major changes that we believe can help some ongoing issues with the gameplay.

We're still a fair bit away from that, but we want to get started with these things as we may need time to reconfigure balance to reach a good spot. Additionally, we believe this will result in a healthier meta. Some of the things we've noticed are that the game seems to have become incredibly reliant on spells and controlling/defending until Mana Frenzy (particularly in 2v2).

We've looked at a bunch of changes that we believe will help sort out some of those issues as well as make the game more dynamic and action-packed.

Why everything at once?

We want to do all of these changes in one major patch, as we believe many of them will change the meta quite a bit. So we think it is preferable to shake the bag one big time and then concentrate on fixing the issues, rather than continuously making changes that will destabilize the balance repeatedly.

What is our approach from this point on?

We certainly expect the meta to be unpredictable with all these changes. We therefore also expect that we will have to do a lot of adjustments. Some will occur in the patches to come in the next few months, others we will have to do through hotfixes. As usual, it fully depends on the severity of the issue whether we chose to hotfix or not, but we will keep an eye on things and are prepared to hotfix where necessary.

The overarching goal is then to spend the remaining time before 2.0 to stabilize the meta and find the best balance for Minion Masters Remastered.

So without further ado here we have all the significant changes we've made to the game!

Game Speed Changes

What are the changes?
  • Mana generation increased
    • 1v1 Changes
      • Starting mana generation increased; ~+10%
      • Time to get to max generation decreased; 5 min → 3 min and 20 sec
    • 2v2 Changes
      • Starting mana generation increased; ~+15%
      • Maximum mana generation increased; ~+10%
      • Time to get to max generation decreased; 5 min → 3 min and 20 sec
  • XP generation rescaled
    • Passive XP gain increased; ~+20%
    • Bridge XP gain increased; ~+10%
  • Balance Changes to adjust (more details in the Patch Notes)
    • Movement speed change (Slowest minions)
    • Demon Warrior
    • Accursed Ascension
    • The Mancers
    • Call to Arms
    • Dragon Nest
    • Morellia Book
    • Apep Totem
    • Nyrvirs Breath

Why are we doing this?
We've tried to change the spread of cards (or rather mana cost ranges) that are being used in previous patches. We feel we've been successful in this with the bi-product that the game has been slowed down. With these changes we're hoping to speed it up again, retaining the good action-packed feel which was the nature of what Minion Masters is. Our general goal is for most games to be around 3~5 minutes and we believe this is a good step in that direction.

With this change, we know the balance won't be perfect right away and we'll need a bit of time to watch the new meta develop and adjust as we go. We see this as an opportunity to change some things that we view as problematic and can aim for an entirely new - and hopefully improved - meta.

Flying No Longer Grabs The Bridges

What are the changes?
Flying Minions will no longer be able to convert a bridge to your team.

Why are we doing this?
We believe that cheap flying Minions have too many functions. They are great at defending, cycling, and grabbing bridges. The bridge grabbing part is not healthy for the game as it neutralizes the use of Melee Minions and can potentially dominate the bridges for cheap. With this change, we aim to make flying Minions focus more on their fighting capabilities as strong counters to Melee. Adding them to your deck can be a great defensive tool, however, you won't strengthen your ability to control the bridges

We expect that some of the flying cards, particularly the cheap ones, will need some further adjustments to find a good balance. We've done some changes in preparation, but we're fully anticipating more will be needed once this update hits the servers. We will be keeping an eye on it and will adjust accordingly in the coming months.

General Damaging Spells Nerf

What are the changes?

Most damaging spells will have their mana cost increased by 1. We may opt to instead reduce the efficiency of certain spells, keeping them at their cost, but in general, all spells that are related to damaging or controlling Minions will receive substantial nerfs. (more details in the Patch Notes).

Why are we doing this?
The game has become too centred around spells, we've even seen the game being referred to as Spell Masters on several occasions. We agree with this sentiment and want to put more focus on Minion versus Minion interactions, and give Spells a more supportive role.

Master Reworks

What are the changes?

  • A Complete King Puff Rework
    • King Puff has long been a restrictive element for certain designs. While we do like the idea that he is restricted to a certain subset we believe he was too restricted while also gaining too much, in turn making the cards also restricted to him.
  • Mordar Tombstones reworked for less coin-flippy results
    • We believe that the difference between Mordar getting a good resurrection and just missing it, is too stark, making matches against him feel either super easy or practically unbeatable. With this, we hope to bring him to a more healthy spot.
  • Diona Rebalanced to remove randomness and removed bridge control from traps
    • It can be frustrating to watch your opponent pick up the healing potion several times in a row, we decided to remove that and make her perk more deterministic. Furthermore, we think that Diona has been too focused on a heavy bridge-control style, and we want to make her more versatile.
  • Apep Totem rework is on a timer in order to avoid it becoming overpowered in cycle decks, particularly with the new mana rules.

Why are we doing this?
Many cards and mechanics have been added to the game and many changes have happened, certain Master designs no longer feel like they fit in quite the right way. These changes are aimed to increase the fun and reduce frustrating elements.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our community for their passion and love of the game! Without you, we would never have created a game like Minion Masters

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